Harley-Davidson stood in the way of Apple branding their new “Lightning” connector… not for long.

Harley-Davidson stood in the way of Apple branding their new “Lightning” connector… not for long.

Source : http://manolchev.com/blog

Apple can use the name “Lightning” for its new iPhone, iPad and iPod connector, but that’s because the company acquired the rights from an unlikely place: motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson.

The acquisition showed up in a European trademark filing, and gives both companies the right to use the term. The trademark covers items such as electrical parts for motorcycles, helmets and turn signals, along with items that aren’t usually associated with motorcycles like computer games, televisions, and eye glasses.

The EU Patent & Trademark Office officially published two Apple trademark applications for “Lightning” under numbers 011399821/862. What’s interesting about this filing is that it clearly illustrates that Apple had acquired the trademark from Harley-Davidson which is still protected until 2013.

In the beginning the blogosphere was wondering what does H-D mean and which is the mysterious company that sold the rights.

Finally the US company registry showed H-D Michigan, LLC , standing for Harley Davidson.

International Trademark classes and Apple’s intriguing choice

At first glance specialists thought that the transfer of the trademark from Harley-Davidson to Apple illustrated Harley’s original International Classes of 009 and 028, especially because it covers items such as motorcycle electrical parts, protective helmet and turn signals. However, it goes on to protect television sets, games, computer game programs, eye glasses and eyeglass frames; things that would have nothing to do with Harley-Davidson. The explanation for this clash of covered items under Class 028 likely relates to what we pointed out in area # 3 noted above. There it states that there was a “partial transfer.” Meaning that Harley-Davidson may have retained the ability to use certain aspects of the trademark relating to the motorcyle parts and so on.

Source : http://manolchev.com/blog

The specifics of the partial transfer weren’t revealed. Under Class 28, UPSTO points out that that “This Class includes, in particular: amusement and game apparatus adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor.” That’s where the television set comes into play. The “eye glasses” angle is interesting as well as we just posted a report questioning whether or not Apple was gearing up for the coming Glass Projects market.

A few Apple patents over the years have pointed to a game console/controller and video glasses, so both of these entries amongst others are of high interest.

The fact that Harley-Davidson’s trademark covers televisions has already led to speculation that Apple may have plans for the Lightning name that go beyond its iOS device connector, although there isn’t any evidence to support the idea yet.

 

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